Sunday, July 31, 2011

Christening of a Rain Barrel

It's been a nice day.  Spent some time at church, with friends, with family, with the internet, walking, talking, and praying. 

We had 1/3in of rain this afternoon, so Sweetz and I headed out to check out our new baby...the rain barrel.  Guess she deserves a name. Ummm, will have to think on that.  Well, she collected some water from the back side of the roof - enough that the barrel was heavy and I could barely rock it, but I could hear the swoosh, swoosh sounds the water made rocking back and forth.  Wonder how much will go in there with...say, 4 inches of rain?  Well, probably don't need to be wasting time contemplating that since we probably won't get that much rain.  Too dry around these parts and around alot of America too. 

I cleaned out the veggies from the fridge this afternoon.  Some old gummy cukes and dried up peppers had to go.  But in their place, a clean fridge drawer filled up quickly with the daily pickings.  I haven't wasted much this year, so I don't feel too bad with what I had to throw in the compost pile.  I canned tomatoes yesterday and they are lovely, not sure there's anything any prettier than a quart jar of red ripe tomatoes.  On the way to meet some friends for lunch, we passed a sign at a home garden that announced tomatoes were $1/lb.  That beats the $2/lb I've seen at the market.  Sweetz suggested we buy some tomatoes and can them.  Ummm, well, I'll have to think about that.  PAY for tomatoes???  Gracious!! 

We got our first cantaloupe today, doesn't look beautiful, but hopefully it is proves more delicious than its outward appearance. 

Sure have been bitten bad by the travel bug.  Sure would like to get away on a short trip, see something different. And reading travel blogs and scanning tour catalogs isn't satisfying the go-go hankering.  As I see it, there are two curves to get around:  one is Sweetz and his love to stay home and the other is Sweetz and his love of his garden.  Oh dear, hubby is the problem!!!  I could trade him but would probably get one I'd have to train from square one.  Nope, I must work on straightening out one of those curves...  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Down The Road

MainMan and I headed down the road today - wanted to make an exchange so used the opportunity as a reason to get out and about to enjoy the day - not the heat - but the rest of it.  With the temps expected to rise to upper 90s, we decided to head out early.  We packed two cold drinks in a cooler and pulled out of the driveway while the weather was still on the mild side.   

Two stops included CampingWorld

and a bistro brunch

10:00 pm
My porch tomato plant has 5 tomatoes all ripening at the same time!  Now, if I can keep the birds or other varmints out of them, we'll get to eat the beauties.  This was an extra plant that we started from a seed and ran out of room to plant them in the garden. I hated to chunk it, so I planted it on the porch.  And I've been super pleased with how well it's done.  The other extra plants found homes in the flower beds but haven't done quite this well.  Sweetz picked the reddest one this afternoon so now I'm watching the other four turn red practically before my eyes. Perfect little globes.

Sweetz informed me that he wasn't hungry, so I fixed myself a plate of fresh veggies.  EVER so good!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Zippity Zip Zip

Today was hair cut time.  My hair was getting way toooooo long and I didn't think I'd be able to stand it until trim day.  Turned out ok, definitely not going to win any beauty contests, but that's what happens while the aging clock rotates around in circles.  Gracious, where does the time go?  I can remember my last day at work like it was yesterday - a bit over a year ago.  zip zip zip: and the year is wiped clean. 

While I was out today, I decided I'd see if I could finish picking up some items on my list.  Wasn't really bad, just wasn't in the mood and that was probably caused by the heat. But I do hate to shop  most of the time anyway.  I mean, how exciting can it be to be out in 96* heat? 

I stopped at Sonic again (actually a different one) and ate my chicken strip lunch in the car with the car running about half of that time.  Really hate to be sitting there with the gas flowing out the back faster than I can pump it in the side.  After I downed about half my  lunch, I headed out to fill the tank.  Not many people there, but after all, it was mid-week and the worker bees are busily handling responsibilities at their workplaces. zip zip zip: I was in and out in record time.

Of course, I needed a few things and it seems WM is the best deal since so many other places have folded. One thing I needed was a few more canning jars.  Wow, have they increased in price!  Would have been better to get them during the winter...or not give away the ones I had for years...but honestly, I didn't know I'd need them. But zip zip zip: I was in and out in record time.

Now, if the veggies would ripen zip zip zip, I'd finish filling these babies and get back to watching the clock.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Big Orange Rain Barrel

Sweetz and I decided to head to CampingWorld today to get a few things for the camper.  We try to keep everything in working order so we can be ready to roll out whenever the weather is pleasant and we can work a trip into our schedule.  It's been so hot recently that a trip doesn't seem like a pleasant way to spend time right now.  The house is cool and the garden is needy so camping will have to wait for lower temps.  One item needed was a exterior light cover plus some extra bulbs.  We looked at the large exterior rugs but I thought they were pretty $teep for what you get, plus they didn't seem like they would be comfortable.  I decided I'd check out some big box stores to see if I could find something softer for the toes. 

We stopped in the BIG farmers' market off the main highway but fortunately didn't need anything they offered.  Beautiful produce though - the kind that seems to be grown in large greenhouses because everything is nearly perfect.  I was thinking that everything had to have at least one bug bite to be edible!!  We each got some ice cream and enjoying sitting on a bench watching the shoppers ogle the produce.  Must be a fabulous year for peaches because nearly every vendor had piles of them.  The tomatoes were $2 lb which I thought was high - but hard to say since we get ours free from our own garden.  Yipppppeeee.  About a mile from our house is a nice local farmer's market so we stopped to check out the fresh corn.  We found some nice Silver Queen corn at a better we bought a dozen ears.  OK, now, we're set with corn for a few days!  Yummies for our tummies.

Since we've decided in this economy we probably can't sell our house, we thought a rain barrel would be a good "green item".  We checked some at a garden supply place while we were out and about today and bought one.  Not sure how much rain comes off the roof at each downspout, but however much we get, all the water will be handy for watering purposes.  I'm thinking we should get a second rain barrel just in case... Maybe we can make one ourselves since they are priced kinda high for a big plastic barrel with a couple of attachments! But now we have a "pattern".  Should be easy peasy.  Now that we have a rain barrel, how long will it be before it rains??????  We saw some barrels which were painted to blend in with a house.  NEAT.  Sweetz said that's what he wants me to do.  The one I admired the most was painted to resemble bricks - so that's the plan - my next project - painting the orangey brick colored barrel to look like it's made of bricks to blend in with our house.  Think I can do it? Well, all painting projects begin with a can of paint.  Lowes here I come...

Yesterday I went to the library for my book exchange ritual and stopped at Sonic for burgers for supper. I checked out some new shops downtown and saw several people I knew so it turned out to be an interesting way to have some afternoon fun. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Present and Past

When the time changed this past spring, I changed the hour on Sweetz' digital watch.  Thankfully, he keeps the little instructional book that came with the watch, because every six months I have to change the hour and I'm sure to forget the steps if left to my own devices.  Wellll, I must admit...I obviously entered an alarm the last time I changed the hour.  So, every single day the alarm goes off at 2pm and continues to alarm every 5 minutes for maybe an hour!  I feel like throwing the watch off a cliff, but he gives me "that look" and I don't.  He's a bit hard of hearing so the alarm doesn't bother him!  So, today was the day that my patience ran out.  He got the book for me and I sat on the front porch and I THINK I eliminated the alarm and with it the seemingly unending snooze reminder alarms. We'll see tomorrow at 2pm if it is silent.  Sure hope so, because if not, that dumb watch is going in the trash!  Well, it will if I think I can get by with it! 

Today I got a couple of calls from my SIL.  She's staying busy with paperwork and required trips to the SS office, the bank, my brother's place of work, the funeral home, the lawyer's office, post office, copy machines, etc.  She's mailing me a packet of "legal" stuff.  Yikes, wonder what surprises are in store for me.  She gave me no hints so hope the contents won't cause me to require a prescription.

I spent a long time this afternoon going through some digital photos taken during my brother's funeral.  I hadn't been able to look at them since the funeral but I got the nerve to upload them to an online photo site and ordered two sets.  Mom wants her own set.  They should arrive in the mail in a few days so in the meantime, I need to buy an album so I can get them organized and stored.  My SIL's brother took some pictures also and emailed them to me so I ordered all of his photos along with mine which pretty much covers all the events.  Still seems like a dream that I will wake up from but I know that won't happen.  But I'm doing much better now.  

Today I did a bit of cleaning in the house, not enough, but will have to do for awhile.  We have clean sheets on the bed and clean floors.  It rained today and although there wasn't much accumulation,  the temperatures remained in a bearable range.  I've had the munchies today and really wish I had stayed out of the Fritos.  Way too much salt, but they sure were tasty going down. It would have been healthier to have eaten a fresh peach, but that wasn't what I wanted and the salties won this time.  Gotta do better tomorrow!   

Last night at church we had a special vocalist sing.  He had a nice voice and could really dip down LOW to reach those deep bass notes.  After the service, we enjoyed an ice cream social in the fellowship hall.  The ice cream freezers were lined up on the left and also in the background of this picture. Yummmm, real tasty.    

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Southern Gold

Wow, is it ever hot!! This summer has been a sizzler - or maybe I just can't remember how hot the summers have been in the past. It's only 96* - so, what am I complaining about?  Well, nothing too much.  Actually, I sat outside in the shade of the patio and read a few pages and sipped some water - and actually it's not as hot and humid as yesterday. There are no clouds in the sky but I can hear some thunder rumbling in the distance.  Am thinking we are in for another thunderstorm.  That's ok, if there's no damage - but we are not able to choose what  accompanies some much-needed rain. 

This morning I noticed some movement on a rug I had hung up to dry on the railing after the rain last evening.  And in a twinkling around the bottom came a beautiful blue and black butterfly.  I need to look it up to see what kind it is.  It certainly was beautiful in the morning light.  It opened and shut its wings and I wondered if it had been caught by some predator.  Fortunately, it was safe and fluttered down to the patio and continued to open and shut its wings oblivious to me snapping pictures.  Then after only a couple of minutes, it flew away for breakfast among the flowers.  But in that short time, I was able to admire and capture the beauty of one of God's creatures.  He takes care of the butterflies as He takes care of each of us.

After church and lunch and afternoon activities, I decided to make another half gallon of sun tea.  I'm experimenting with using only one family size tea bag.  Must say, the tea that I've been making in the sun has been awesome.  Smooth, clear, brisk, and tasty.  I'd give it an "A".  But it might be time to stir in that sugar and sip a glass of Southern Gold just to confirm that grade A rating.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pioneer Spirit

One of my friends teased me yesterday that she thought I had been bitten by the pioneer spirit.  She was referring to the canning, cooking from scratch, gardening, making sun tea, drying herbs, etc. Whatever - I'm enjoying myself and preparing for the winter at the same time.  I have been reading several pioneer books and must admit I do get bitten occasionally by the pioneer spirit.  Maybe next I will try my luck with dyeing my own handwoven fabrics with beets, and blueberries for natural colors.  Maybe.  Naah, don't have a loom...

Yesterday morning, Sweetz and I went down to mom's and worked in her front yard while she was gone. There were several things we wanted to do and within an hour we were soaked with sweat.  So, we came home and cooled off - no use tempting a heart attack in this extreme heat.  But her front yard looked nice.  She returned from the lake and came by to bring me some peaches she bought at a produce stand and commented on the work we had done in the yard. Nice she noticed!

Not wanting to heat up the house with the oven, I made a peach cobbler in the microwave this morning.  Was easy peasy and tastes scrumptious. Yep, I sampled it! Now, if I can stay out of it.

Yesterday I canned a few jars of tomatoes and beans.  Wish there were more, but even a few jars of colorful produce packs a jolt of satisfaction.  There was a brave gray bug on our Carolina Jasmine plant yesterday and he looked like he was courageously protecting his domain.  I just had to get a picture of him staring me down.  I left him alone - might have had a family in those leaves somewhere and who am I to mess with one of God's creatures who wasn't bothering me. Hope he thinks mosquitoes are tasty. .. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three Crosses and a Rock

I picked a friend up at the front door of her workplace about 11:30 this morning and off we went for lunch.  Since it was her turn to choose the restaurant, she chose a local church that has a dining area open to the public. It was great to see her again and we chatted like old friends do.  We both chose chicken salad on a croissant with a dill pickle wedge.  It was nice to see her again and enjoy lunch while watching quite a few children either playing in the indoor playroom or sitting at tables munching on their hot dogs. 

That innocent looking cup in the first picture with the straw inserted in the top...well it became a menace.  My own fault, of course - who else can I blame?  Well, it got a puncture hole in the side and the entire drink ran out into the cup holder in the car on my way home.  Yikes!  What a mess.  Thankfully, the well is enclosed so once I got home I got a scooper and lifted out all I could, then soaked up as much as I could with a piece of scrap fabric I found in the garage, then the final soaking was done with two napkins I found in the glove compartment.  I used a wet dishcloth to clean the final sticky dampness.  Gracious, what a mess! Makes me want to clean the entire car - both inside and out.  But with the temps we're experiencing, that job will be waiting till we see the 80s again.  And I can't forget since it's QUITE obvious the car is greatly in need of a soapy sponge and a hose. The temp right now is 98* and that's in the shade.  In the meantime, I'm planning to stay indoors.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Flippy Floppy

It's Wednesday - hey, I've successfully made it to mid week.  Wooohooo.  One step at a time: step, flippy floppy, step, step. 

My mind dwells on lots of nice memories from my day yesterday, getting out, enjoying the day, seeing new things.  But the new day requires me to move out again.  Gotta.  Can't keep my head in the sand. 

OK, so I decide to head out this morning with Sweetz to get the van inspected and to get the registration renewed.  Early.  That man was ready to roll before I had even finished reading all my emails! I told him I'd be ready in 12 min and I made it!  Everything went smoothly with the inspection and we were even sitting around waiting for the DMV to open way before 9am. 

We planned to buy some groceries while in da big city and decided we'd grab breakfast. So, off we went to a neat little diner for one of the best 2-egg breakfasts I've ever eaten away from home.  Near perfection and quick!

Sweetz found a large flippy floppy mushroom in the front flower bed and wanted me to take a picture. Unusual looking creation.  Not sure what kind it is.  Looks kinda like a combination of ten mushrooms popping up out of one spot.   

While walking around the yard after the mushroom sighting, I snapped a few pictures of our crepe myrtle in bloom.  Took another picture of our itsy bitsy orchid plant since now there are TWO itsy bitsy blooms.  (Blogger doesn't seem to feel in the mood to allow me to insert this picture.  Sigh)

Sure is HOT outside!!!  I'm now making some tea and just thought about the old method of making sun tea and I KNOW it would steep outside in this heat in no time.  Now, how long would that method take?  Oh, guess I could judge it by the color - but that would require my brain to be in gear.  Sweetz just noticed the top rack of the dishwasher is flippy floppy and discovered there's a screw loose.  Easy peasy fix he says.  It's wonderful to have a guy with a tool box.  

I bought a peck of peaches yesterday at a peach orchard.  Am wanting to make a peach cobbler - but haven't yet.  Found a recipe online and might do that as soon as Sweetz finishes in the kitchen.  Would hate to interrupt a man on a mission.         

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bison On The Hill

Sweetz and I had some business at the courthouse this morning. We decided to get there fairly early so off we went to our newly-opened courthouse.  Seems there must have been some stimulu$ or porkulu$ money flowing into our county to afford such a big new building.  When we arrived, we had to maneuver the scanners with their metal detector frame we had to walk through, x-rays of my purse and Sweetz' pocket paraphernalia, followed by a metal detector wand scan to make sure we weren't toting in something menacing.  Sweetz had a pocket knife in his pocket which was a total no-no, but he was allowed to take it back to the car.  After that inspection, we were allowed into the hallowed halls of justice.   The ladies in the office were extra nice and treated us with true southern charm. We were able to complete our mission and allowed to leave.

Unbelievable as it may seem, there is a bison farm in our area.  But with it being so hot and humid today, they weren't interested in coming over to greet my friend and me standing at the electric fence.  But I got a couple of distant shots as they were sitting in the shade at the corral.  We decided we'd go back another day when it's cooler to see if they would be willing to be out and about. 

We stopped by an area with some log buildings near our community college.  There is a one room schoolhouse, a corn crib, a tobacco barn, and a larger log structure all nestled in a clearing near a pond.  Made me feel like I had been zapped back in time to 1850. Interesting to see but sure would miss electricity and air conditioning if we lived during those years.

There's a neat diner nearby so we found a booth and talked for a long time about nearly everything known to mankind.  While there, we saw several people we knew, including one of the nice ladies that helped hubby and me at the courthouse this morning.  Wow, small town friendliness with true Southern charm. And it just goes to prove you can't hide in this town because someone knows you wherever you go.

One special moment was a sweet horse who came over to the fence to meet us.  He was smart and stayed away from the electric fence cables but moved over to the safety of the unwired gate.  What a beautiful horse! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer in a Jar

Our small backyard garden has been producing a bit more than we can eat per day. So, this morning I canned a few jars each of beans and tomatoes. They will be delicious this winter.

I'm not in a great mood today - had some disappointing news at the attorney's office regarding some personal affairs - plus he gave me some more "homework".   And I want to get everything settled so I can sleep at night. But it does seem that worries are in front of our face all the time - so I should get used to it.  So much easier to be young and free of worries.  My dad is dead so can't help me with advice but if he was alive, I would have already sat at his side for hours asking him about this type of concern.  He was such a smart man and I always trusted him to give me the best advice. But I am on my own now - at least there are trustworthy attorneys in our town which I can lean on. For a fee.     

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Primary Colors

Good gracious!  Just looked at the 10-day weather forecast for our area. It's predicted to be 102* next Sunday.  Gracious, gracious, gracious.  That's about 20* hotter than I like my highs!  It's been milder here for a few days and I've become spoiled.  Temps in the 80s would be wonderful.  But I'm not to get my way for much longer. 

We went to church this morning and the service was good.  We ate with friends afterwards and it was great chatting over a nice meal that I didn't have to cook.  Definitely not as good as my cooking, of course!! (grin)...but was nice as a change. 

I was going to can tomatoes yesterday but they weren't quite to the perfect ripeness stage, so was thinking I'd be found in the kitchen this afternoon with tomato juice dripping down my arms.  But it didn't happen today either since I checked all the tomatoes and decided that tomorrow would be the perfect ripeness day.  I have an appointment at 2pm so I best find myself in the kitchen to get these beauties in the jars before the morning sucks all the air out of my free time. 

I gave Sweetz a rain gauge with a solar globe a few weeks ago and it's been outside soaking up sun every day but did not reward us with any beautiful colors after dark.  Well, today I finally brought it inside and checked it over.  Lo and behold, there's a switch on the bottom.  Down is on and up is off.  Duh!  OK, so the globe is glowing away on the porch with primary colors now that it's dark.  Hey, not bad.  Not sure I can get a decent picture unless I use a tripod since I doubt I can hold the camera still long enough.  Worth a try though...first picture it is glowing blue.  Second picture it is glowing red while flipping to yellow.  Yep, primary colors, and no tripod either.

I bought my brother some M&Ms for his visit with us and since he died during that visit, he hadn't eaten but a few of them.  I decided to snack on a few of those primary colored candies in his honor tonight.  I don't care that much for chocolate, but he sure loved it.  And especially M&Ms.  I'd wager there are M&Ms in heaven tonight. Crunch's to you, bro! 


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Not All Live in Dark Places

During a stroll through the yard I noticed this was the day of the mushrooms.  Not sure what their names are, but they are all beautiful in their own way.  Mostly light brown ones, but one that is bright red which really caught my eye.

A cousin sent a book for mom to read.  It was one that was given to one of mom's sisters when her son was killed suddenly and was a great comfort to her.  Now, it's been passed on to mom to read for comfort after her son died.

I baked a small turkey this morning with a fresh herb/oil rub. Sweetz and I had some for lupper and was it ever so tasty!! Had some garden veggies on the side. We sure are enjoying these veggies!  Sweetz told me over nibbles of turkey lupper that he sowed some short rows of beets, lettuce mix, and carrots.  Oh, goodie, we'll have stuff to eat until the frost kills them.  Of course, the beets and carrots will be underground so they will last a bit longer. 


And today was a GORGEOUS day with lower temps and humidity.  A fine day to spend some time in the yard enjoying God's nature.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rhode Island Red

Last night I bought my friend a birthday gift.  When I got home last night I was too tired to upload this picture to the blog.  So, I'll do it now.

This morning I met another friend at the home of one of her family members to see their chickens.  The owner has built a darling chicken house for their six special young ladies. 


In the property at the back of the house are horses and sheep.  It's quiet and peaceful out there and the only sounds you hear are occasional clucking of chickens and a car passing on the road.  My friend and I sat on the swing and watched Carolina wrens feeding their young ones. 

On the way home, I passed a field of tobacco being irrigated.


And a bit farther was a beautiful horse near a barn.